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Category Archives: Military aid

Can aid win hearts and minds?

A recent Christian Science Monitor article reported that USAID is “losing hearts and minds” in Afghanistan’s northeastern Badakshan province because of failed and shoddy projects, corruption, secrecy and waste.

Given how much of the US aid budget is spent trying to make the world a safer and more secure place for Americans, you might think there would be plenty of studies testing the hypothesis that aid funds can reduce terrorism or shift hostile public…

Also posted in Academic research | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

Holy Bureaucratic Gibberish, Batman!

This post is by Adam Martin, a post-doctoral fellow at DRI.

On July 1 the Department of Defense rolled out two notable new projects that will undoubtedly inaugurate a new era of peace and safety for the streets of Gotham international community. Even the world’s greatest detective could not have seen this coming.

Like their caped crusader namesakes, the DoD versions of BaTMAN and RoBIN are shrouded in mystery, their real identities…

Also posted in Organizational behavior | Tagged , | 10 Comments

We have met the enemy and he is powerpoint: NYT on the military

The New York Times had a front pager today on a story that this blog (twice: Dec 22, 2009 and Dec 12, 2009 ) and other blogs has been all over for months – the use of nonsensical Powerpoint slides to guide the US military in Afghanistan. The NYT reproduced the infamous Afghan nation-building spaghetti chart over most of the front page:

“PowerPoint makes us stupid,” Gen. James N. Mattis of

Also posted in Democracy and freedom, In the news | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Never-before-seen video of a peacekeeping intervention to end war

Short clip:

From Twitter:
undispatch @undispatch:

@bill_easterly instead of trying to be funny, can you actually explain your beef with peacekeeping?

Well, @undispatch, if you click on the category, “aid goes military” at the bottom of this post, you will get more than you probably want to hear from this blog on this topic. You are also welcome to check out my New York Review of Books article Aid goes military!…

Also posted in Aid policies and approaches, Grand plans and aid targets | Tagged , | 3 Comments

The “smart power” military-industrial complex takes off

What do Lockheed Martin Corp, Northrop Grumman Corp, and L-3 Communications Inc. have in common?

Yes, all are top 10 Pentagon contractors. But they are also increasingly winning lucrative government contracts to implement “smart power” or “nation-building” programs—like educating peacekeeping troops in human-rights law, sending anthropologists to Afghanistan to understand local culture, mentoring Liberian prosecutors to combat corruption and crime, and rebuilding airports and government ministries.

Hillary Clinton and others in the administration have helped…

Also posted in Aid policies and approaches, In the news | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Worst in Aid: The Grand Prize

Hillary Clinton recently declared: “We are working to elevate development and integrate it more closely with defense and diplomacy in the field…The three Ds must be mutually reinforcing.”

Clinton says that the 3D approach will elevate development to the level of diplomacy and defense. Unfortunately, it could instead lower development further to an instrument employed to achieve military or political priorities. Clinton foresaw these objections: “There is a concern that integrating development means diluting it or politicizing…

Also posted in Democracy and freedom, Trade | Tagged , , , , | 34 Comments

Top 5 reasons why “failed state” is a failed concept

1) “State failure” is leading to confused policy making.

For example, it is causing the military to attempt overly ambitious nation-building and development to approach counter-terrorism, under the unproven assumption that “failed states” produce terrorism.

2) “State failure” has failed to produce any useful academic research in economics.

You would expect a major concept to be the subject of research by economists (as well as by other fields, but I am using economics research…

Also posted in Aid policies and approaches | Tagged , , | 18 Comments

Day of mourning for military Development

afghan warNews sources say that President Obama will choose “escalate” with additional troops for Afghanistan in his speech at West Point tonight. I and many like-minded individuals find this disastrous.

“Like-minded” means that critics of top-down state plans for economic development are also not fans of top-down state plans for military development. If the Left likes the first, and the Right likes the second, that just shows you how incoherent Left and Right are.

Will Wilkinson…

Also posted in Grand plans and aid targets | Tagged , | 9 Comments

Will Aid Escalation Finally Crash in the Mountains of Afghanistan?

There has been a remarkable escalation in the scale and intrusiveness of aid interventions over the years (this was one of the major conclusions of my survey paper on aid to Africa).

It seems to be reaching the reductio al absurdum in the current debate on whether to escalate US intervention in Afghanistan.

Let’s review the record:

Also posted in Aid policies and approaches, Grand plans and aid targets | Tagged | 9 Comments

The US Army fights me back! — in a nice peaceful way

The following is the text of an email I received today after asking Lieutenant General William Caldwell IV for comment as one of the authors of the United States Army’s Manual with some economic development ideas that I criticized:

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

Caveats: FOUO

Dear Dr. Easterly,

LTG Caldwell is currently on personal leave and not regularly receiving

email.

This is a very important topic to him — the manual to which you refer

represents…

7 Comments